The European division of Philips Healthcare, Andover, Mass is joining forces with Worcester, Massachusetts-based RXi Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company. Together, RXi and Philips will combine proprietary technologies to develop targeted ultrasound guided delivery of experimental therapeutics that are based on RNA interference (RNAi).

Compounds based on RNAi represent a new class of drugs for the targeted treatment of a number of diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, delivering those RNA interference compounds accurately to the targeted site and having the cells effectively uptake the compounds has been challenging.

The Philips and RXi collaboration will address these challenges by exploring, in preclinical studies, the possibility of using RXi’s sd-rxRNA™ (self-delivering rxRNA™) in conjunction with Philips’ ultrasound technology. Together, they hope to achieve the targeted delivery and monitoring of RNAi-based compounds in cells.

Henk van Houten, senior vice president of Philips Research and head of the health care research program, said in a press announcement, “The development of ultrasound techniques that could non-invasively trigger the delivery of new drug formats such as RNAi therapeutics at a targeted location opens up exciting possibilities for advancing personalized medicine.”

Noah D. Beerman, President and CEO at RXi, added, “By combining RXi’s proprietary sd-rxRNA molecules, which have unique properties of ‘self delivery’, and Philips’ ultrasound technologies, we will be working together to achieve targeted and specific delivery to relevant organs and tissues, which could potentially boost the efficacy of RNAi-based disease treatments.”

RXi’s proprietary rxRNA molecules are chemically modified to provide them with important properties, such as stability in biological fluids, low stimulatory effect on the immune system, and high target specificity.

Philips’ image-guided ultrasound-mediated drug delivery platform offers researchers a unique approach to investigating the delivery of various therapeutic molecules across blood vessel barriers and facilitating their uptake in cells.

Read the full Philips/RXi press release for more information. 

(Source: Press Release)